E-Book Reader Test - 10/2019

Our test winner is the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: The device is extremely user-friendly, waterproof and offers an optimal reading experience. Our favourite with the Test grade 8.8/10!

We tested 4 e-book readers and paid special attention to the reading experience and the quality of the display.

E-Book readers are a great way to have all your favorite books with you wherever you go. You can also discover new titles in the online library and download them easily.

last modified: 07.10.2019, 10:56
Winner
Best price winner
Our winner: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite KOBO HD Touchscreen E-book Reader tolino Shine 3 eBook-Reader PocketBook e-Book Reader Touch Lux 4

Amazon
Kindle Paperwhite

KOBO
HD Touchscreen E-book Reader

tolino
Shine 3 eBook-Reader

PocketBook
e-Book Reader Touch Lux 4

  • Waterproof
  • (Offline) dictionaries and internet research function
  • Rental function through Kindle Unlimited & Prime Reading
  • Audible function
  • Documents/ books downloadable from computer
  • Very good resolution
  • Easy operation
  • Documents/ books downloadable from computer
  • Night light function
  • Documents/ books downloadable from computer
  • Top illuminated display
  • Other applications such as notes, games or calculators
  • 4-button operation
  • Memory expandable
  • Documents/ books downloadable from computer
  • Few customization options
  • Memory not expandable
  • No night light function
  • Memory not expandable
  • Not waterproof
  • Smooth backside
  • Housing material somewhat smooth
  • Not waterproof
  • Memory not expandable
  • No own shop
  • Complicated menu structure
  • Reaction takes a little time
  • Low display resolution
  • No night light function

Makes a positive impression and has an audible function. Unfortunately, the memory is not expandable.

Easy to handle and offers a nice reading experience. Unfortunately, the memory is not expandable.

Easy operation and beautiful design. Unfortunately, the memory is not expandable.

Makes a good impression at first, but is unfortunately difficult to use. Does not offer an integrated shop.

Battery Performance
User friendly
Image quality
Capacity
Compactness
Reading experience
Scope of delivery E-Reader, USB cable, user manual E-Reader, USB cable, instruction manual E-Reader, USB cable, Quick Start Guide, Warranty Certificate E-Reader, USB cable, Quick Start Guide, Warranty Certificate
Quality impression Very good Good Good Very good
Battery life Up to six weeks Over several weeks Over several weeks Up to 1 month
Internal memory 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB 8 GB
Weight 184 g 165 g 163 g 155 g
Display size 6 inches 6 inches 6 inches 6 inches
Camera resolution 300 ppi 300 ppi 300 ppi 212 ppi
Number of fonts 9 fonts 11 fonts 6 fonts 8 fonts
Audible
Memory expansion Up to 32 GB
WLAN / LAN
Supported media formats AZW, AZW3, MOBI, PDF, PRC, TXT CBR, EPUB, EPUB (DRM), MOBI, PDF, PDF (DRM), RTF, TXT EPUB, EPUB (DRM), PDF, PDF (DRM), TXT CHM, DJVU, DOC, DOCX, EPUB, EPUB (DRM), FB2, HTML, MOBI, PDF, PDF (DRM), PRC, RTF, TCR, TXT
Test seal: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, Rating 1.8
read review
Test seal: KOBO HD Touchscreen E-book Reader, Rating 2
read review
Test seal: tolino Shine 3 eBook-Reader, Rating 2.25
read review
Test seal: PocketBook e-Book Reader Touch Lux 4, Rating 2.8
read review
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Amazon

Kindle Paperwhite

Test seal: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, Rating good

The Amazon - Kindle Paperwhite convinces with its lending function through Kindle Unlimited & Prime Reading as well as the (offline) dictionaries and the internet research function. The Amazon Kindle is the only product in this category with an audible function. The few customization options and the non-expandable memory are negative.

read review

Amazon - Kindle Paperwhite

Winner: read review
  • If you choose a reader without a store, you must always buy books on your PC, download them, and then transfer them to your eBook Reader using a USB cable. You must make sure that additional programs are necessary due to the copy protection DRM. If, on the other hand, you buy books directly from the reader, they will also be available immediately and do not need to be further processed.
  • Unfortunately, not all eBook readers are sufficiently protected against environmental influences such as dust and water. But with some precautions you can use every eBook Reader even on the beach: Conventional, foldable eBook reader covers offer good protection against sand, but the "freezer bag" version also protects your eBook reader from dust and water at the same time.
  • E-readers should not be used in the blazing sun, even if the electronic paper makes this possible. Too much heat can impair battery performance and also lead to irreparable image errors.
 

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Reading experience
  • Picture quality
  • User-friendly
  • Battery performance
  • Compactness
  • Capacity

In order to be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the e-book readers. First, the scope of delivery is checked and settings and storage space are checked. As soon as the devices are ready for operation, user-friendliness and an overview of the menu navigation are assessed. After books are purchased and downloaded with the devices from the respective shops, the reading experience is evaluated. The touch function of the display, the resolution, and the brightness levels are checked.

In addition, it is tested how well the e-books fit in the hand. In further runs, it will also be tested whether the purchased books can also be downloaded from the PC to the devices and how well PDF documents can be displayed by the e-books.

In order to rule out errors and to ensure the stress of everyday use, each test takes place in several stages.

The test criteria receive percentages depending on their importance. The final grade is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on an observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

eBooks
The Amazon Kindle in Landscape Mode

The terms e-book and e-book reader have meanwhile arrived in the mainstream. But what exactly are they? The answer to this question is still not answered by many readers. The definition is not difficult at all. Generally speaking, an e-book offers a digital text version of a printed book that is shown on a display with a reader that decodes the corresponding file.

The books that can be read with such a device are available online via special portals. The largest include Amazon.de, Buch.de, Weltbild.de, and Thalia.de. However, the corresponding files can also be read on the smartphone, tablet or even the desktop computer. The text adapts itself automatically to the respective screen.

Fonts and font sizes can usually be defined individually and all chapters can be easily selected via the table of contents with a tap or click. Sometimes, additional links and text references are included to increase the added value. Depending on the reader, it is possible to set bookmarks, search or select specific text passages, look up words, translate and more.

The US company NuvoMedia launched the first e-book reader in 1999. The device used an LCD display but was not able to assert itself due to the high purchase price and the still very limited possibilities. The big boom began a few years later when Amazon introduced its Kindle in 2007.

The e-book is a digital text version of a printed book.

The Reader scored with a reasonable price, a display that mimics the visual characteristics of paper, and a wide range of e-book files associated with it. Since then, more and more electronics and bookstore groups have followed with alternative variants, some of which we will examine in more detail in the course of this guide.

Advantages

With an e-book reader, you can adapt the layout, i.e. font type and size, etc., to your needs, you can set bookmarks to quickly return to the corresponding information later - and you have the possibility not only to purchase via the Web e-books but also to access a certain contingent of free works from many providers. The backlight also lets you read in the dark.

With the backlight, you can also read in the dark.

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for this to be individually adjustable to the respective lighting situation. With some e-book readers, there is a display of the remaining reading time, which is calculated from previous reading intervals. For example, you can estimate pretty accurately whether you will be able to complete the chapter or book before an appointment.

Markers and notes are also possible as additional functions, there are a dictionary function and a translation option for various models, and you can create your own libraries.

The disadvantages

In fact, electronic books also have some disadvantages that we don't want to deny you. E-books don't usually belong to you. When you pay for such work, you only get the right to read it. Paper books are only taxed at 7%, as e-books are software, the VAT rate is 19%.

Although the same tax classification of electronic and real books has been an issue at government level for some time now, a change is not (yet) on the horizon.

The biggest disadvantage, however, are the different formats. Many manufacturers of e-book readers limit their compatibility to their own format - and so the reader is generally bound to the in-house shop and its selection. In addition, some readers - despite the generally very eye-friendly displays - complain about problems with longer digital reading.

eBooks
download eBooks from computer

For many people who love to read, there is nothing more beautiful than to go to the personal favourite reading corner with a new book and a cup of coffee or tea or even a good wine and enjoy the corresponding work with all your senses.

For these people, the smell of paper, the rustling of the pages while turning them over and the holding of the book are practically inviolable factors for the perfect reading experience. But even the biggest fans of paper books can't deny the advantages of e-book readers.

The most obvious and also the most serious advantage is the accompanying "compression". So you don't have to carry heavy tomes around while travelling. In view of the fact that real bookworms on a longer trip usually don't just have a single book, this advantage becomes even more relevant.

An e-book sometimes weighs less than 200 grams and offers the possibility of calling up thousands of page-strong books via one small device.

The steadily rising number of e-books sold shows that more and more reading fans are recognizing the advantages. Often, however, the digital book is actually only used in special contexts, such as the holiday or business trip mentioned above. At home, many reading enthusiasts still prefer the classic book with all its beautiful, relaxing features.

Take many books with you on the smallest space and almost without weight.

Also, the increased download of e-books on tablets and smartphones suggests that electronic books are very often read in between, i.e. in situations in which a paper book is not at hand or not appropriate.

However, this development is probably also related to the general increase in the use of mobile media in everyday life. Definitely: The conventional paper book is far from obsolete. In the future, however, it will have to cede some areas to the digital alternative.

E-books have been an integral part of the book market for some time now. The figures speak for themselves: around a quarter of German reading enthusiasts are already using an e-book reader, tablet or even smartphone instead of a classic book.

Nevertheless, there are still numerous people who are not familiar with electronic books and/or who have not yet even dealt with them. There are various reasons for this: Some people find e-books too complicated, others need the haptic experience of turning pages while reading, and still others are passionate collectors whose concepts simply don't fit digital books.

If you are looking for basic information on e-book readers, you should definitely read our guide carefully.

If you belong to one of these groups or are simply looking for basic information about e-book readers, you should definitely read our guide carefully. Here you will find the most important details about e-book readers - general information, details on formats, developments in the e-book market, download and copy protection of digital works and last but not least advice on the most important factors for making the right purchase decision.

As already mentioned with the few disadvantages of e-books, there are (unfortunately) numerous different formats for the different readers. In fact, not a single one can be read on all devices! However, there are some formats that are more common than others and therefore generally offer greater possibilities. You can read the most important information below.

EPUB

EPUB is the e-book format with the highest compatibility. It is supported by Tolino, Kobo, and Sony, among others. However, it cannot be read on Amazon's Kindle devices. In general, this is the most widely used format in the world.

AZW and other Amazon formats

As to be expected, the formats of Amazon are also very widespread. They can, therefore, be read with all Amazon Kindle devices. In detail, there are AZW, AZW3, and KF8. The latter is the latest format. It was developed especially for Kindle Fire devices. AZW and AZW3 run on conventional Kindles.

MOBI

The basis of the current Kindle formats is MOBI. However, it is no longer used so often, as the newer Kindle formats are now mainly used. However, there are still many applications.

PRC

PRC is also a file format used on Kindle Devices. MOBI is in fact largely based on what makes both formats very similar. This is also less common than AZW and EPUB.

PDF

Yes, there are indeed e-books in PDF format as well - and many readers can display them. However, PDF does not correspond to the classic e-book approach. It hardly adapts to the readers and is itself not adaptable. A PDF file has a fixed layout.

It can be scaled to its respective size by the end device and also zoomed manually, but is very limited in terms of individual options. PDF e-books are only available in a few shops - including Apple and Amazon.

The formats listed here are only the most important. There are a few more, but they are only used by certain manufacturers. Many of them are hardly still available or even already discontinued.

Am I an e-book reader type?

First, you should be aware of whether you are an e-book reader type or a paper book type. This doesn't mean that it's pointless to buy an e-book if you're not an e-book reader type!

However, you should choose the device according to whether you want to use it always or only occasionally. For occasional e-book readers, the purchase of a high-priced device with an extensive subscription is usually simply not worthwhile.

However, you should choose the device according to whether you want to use it always or only occasionally.

Which screen size is ideal?

The most common e-book reader sizes range from 6 to 9.7 inches. The large displays are more interesting for those who want to read reference books with lots of details or photos. Devices with 6 or 7 inches are always sufficient for "normal" readers. They are then of course also better to store in hand luggage for holidays or business trips.

How important is resolution?

E-Book Reader Displays work just like computers, smartphones or tablets with pixels. The more pixels you use, the more detailed the image will be. Inexpensive devices often "only" use 800x600 pixels. This is not bad, but ideally, it should be a little more pixels.

The resolution is also measured in DPI (dots per inch). In order to calculate this value, the pixels and the screen size must be set in a special ratio.

In general, the larger the display, the more pixels it should have for a good value. For large readers, it is always advisable to choose an HD version. A higher DPI value provides a sharper image than a lower one. No matter how big your e-book reader is, it should always have more than 300 DPI.

300 DPI is the limit above which the human eye no longer perceives the individual pixels as such.

How important is backlighting?

eBooks
Nightlight function of the KOBO Reader

E-Book readers are available with or without backlight. The latter is no disadvantage as long as there is always enough ambient light.

The rule is: Wherever a printed book can be read without problems, you don't need a backlight with your e-book reader.

The big advantage of such additional light, however, is that it gives you the opportunity to read even when the ambient light is not enough. The brighter the background light (set), the shorter the battery life.

How much memory is needed?

eBooks
SD card slot of the tolino eBook reader

No matter how cheap the model you chose is, you should always get a few hundred books in the attic. In short, all models on the market have enough capacity.

However, if you don't just want to read books from the integrated shop, or if you have the habit of archiving all books for possible re-reading, you should use a model that has a slot for an external storage medium.

Which system is the right one?

One of the most common and, in the long run, very important questions is finding the right system. The general answer is once again not possible. But anyone who already has an Amazon account and perhaps even the Prime option is well advised to invest there.

Many books are already included. If you want to be able to display different formats, Tolino could appeal to you. Every system has its advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on where you bought your reader, you will immediately get access to a shop where you can buy e-books. For example, Amazon devices are already connected to your account when you start them. Other providers require you to register first.

The classic way is to buy each book separately. So you register with the respective provider, select the e-book you want, pay for it and then download it to your library.

Once it is on your e-book reader, you can conveniently read it without an internet connection. Sometimes you even get some books for free. For frequent readers, there are a so-called flat rate or subscription systems.

Here you have full access to a large library for a fixed annual or monthly price - at no additional cost. You can also download books from many readers manually from other sources or read them on an external storage medium. Of course, this only works if the formats fit.

To prevent e-books from being redistributed for free, they are usually protected by copy protection. A distinction is made here between hard and soft copy protection. If hard copy protection is present, not only the copying but also the reading on other devices than the models belonging to the brand is prevented.

E-Books of the big chains usually have hard copy protection - they are often only readable on devices of the same provider.

Amazon once again follows its very own line here - and so it is not possible to display corresponding Amazon formats on any other reader. Most other providers rely on copy protection from Adobe.

With the soft copy protection, a personal watermark is integrated into the e-book. So if the book is passed on or is even available for download on the net, you can track who is responsible for it.

There are no technical standards here, which makes the soft copy protection in contrast to the hard one basically hardly removable. In fact, the hard version is now even declining due to this advantage.

Every year more e-books are sold and also the sales of the corresponding readers increase steadily. Those who do not yet own an electronic book can often at least imagine buying one in the future.

Young people grow up with e-book technology - and among them, their popularity is correspondingly high. The fact that electronic books can also be read on mobile phones and tablets makes them particularly interesting for this user group.

It not only uses such devices every day but also for all kinds of occasions. As already mentioned at the beginning, the great advantage of such devices is that they provide the opportunity to read even if it would be unthinkable to reach for a conventional book.

Every year more e-books are sold and also the sales of the corresponding readers increase steadily.

Among other things, sales figures are rising because e-book prices are tending to fall. This is mainly due to the fact that more and more books are being published additionally or even exclusively as e-books. A larger number of digital books will, therefore, have to enter the price war harder and harder.

Of course, this is very advantageous for the reader. Even lower prices are available within flat-rate models. Depending on how much you read per month, you can read a book here for a few euros. With such a model, you'll quickly get the price for the reader out again.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

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